Improving and Maintaining Oral Health
Good oral health is an often overlooked aspect of total health. For many, oral health consciousness only extends to brushing their teeth twice a day and the occasional flossing when they remember. While this is a good practice, there is a lot of room for improvement. Proper brushing and flossing, using an oral rinse, and managing consumption of certain food and drinks (or avoiding them totally) are key ingredients towards better oral health.
Here are few basic tips on how to improve and maintain oral health:
1. Brush your teeth thoroughly at least twice a day. And just as important as maintaining this habit is using the proper equipment and technique. Check your toothpaste and make sure it has fluoride. Yes, most toothpaste brands have fluoride, but check just the same. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush or for better results consider using an electric or battery operated one.
There are several good brushing techniques. Most dentists would advise tilting the toothbrush at a 45 degree angle and aiming it at that point where your tooth and gums meet. Then brush downwards in a wiping motion. Another technique is to use small circular movements starting from the point where teeth and gums meet. What is common to all techniques is that you do it gently and make sure to brush the inside, outside and all chewing surfaces including your tongue. Finally, keep your toothbrush uncovered most of the time. Let it air dry. Keeping it covered just encourages bacterial growth.
2. Know when to replace your toothbrush. When you notice that you have a frayed brush head that now looks radically different from its original look, that might be a little late. The rule of thumb is to replace it every three months, however, it is better to replace it as soon as you notice a few frayed bristles.
3. Floss regularly. Ideally floss when you brush, but once a day is good enough to keep things clean. If you do it once a day, do it when you brush your teeth at the end of your day. Just be gentle and careful, especially when working the floss in between your teeth and around the gum area. Flossing before brushing your teeth is a good idea since it would let the fluoride from your toothpaste reach the areas between your teeth. Whether or not you floss before brushing is a matter of preference. A thorough job on both ensures that your mouth is clean.
4. Consider using an oral rinse. Not the ones solely for fresh breath but the anti-microbial type, preferably alcohol free. There are a few oral rinse products that also have fluoride and that is even better. The oral rinse can deal with a lot of the other bacteria that escaped your brushing.
5. Schedule regular teeth cleaning and dental exams. Once a year is the minimum, but twice a year is a better bet. Remember that a lot of diseases and conditions manifest symptoms in the mouth. So a more regular schedule with your dentists ensures that any developing conditions are detected early.
6. Avoid smoking. Not only does it tint your teeth that ugly yellow, it also encourages rapid bacterial growth in your mouth. In any case, smoking is really not good for your overall health and it is a very expensive habit as well.